This was another library used book sale find. I enjoyed the movie, and so I had to have the book.
THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY
by Robert James Waller
The opening of this book sets it up as if it's a real story; the children of a woman recently deceased presents letters and other personal items to a writer, and asks him to write their mother's story, and find the man in the story.
Set during a hot week in August, 1965, Robert Kincaid is a National Geographic photographer assigned to photograph the seven covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa. During the road trip from his home in Washington, he finds several other sites he'd like to photograph at some point. Upon his arrival in Iowa, he seeks directions to the bridges, but one is elusive - until he sees a farm wife outside her house, and pulls into the driveway to ask directions.
Francesca Johnson is the Iowa farm wife. She was a war bride from Italy who took the best of the options remaining for her after World War II. Her husband and children were showing steer at the state fair during the week, leaving her relatively free. The photographer who pulls into her driveway is unlike anyone she knows - a "hippie", as he's called by the townsfolk. She takes him to find the last bridge, just down the road, and invites him to dinner. The relationship blossoms from there.
You know from the beginning of the book where this is going, and that makes it all the more poignant. There are chapters at the end which show what happened after that week, and how bittersweet life can be. "The old dream were good dreams; they didn't work out, but I'm glad I had them."
This book haunted me for a couple of days. It made me more mindful of just how fortunate my life has been, and how fragile and fleeting happiness can be. The movie was good, and the book far better. 5/5
Happy Thorsday, everyone!